547. BOOK EXCERPT: Making Tracks ~ Buffi Becraft-Woodall

Making Tracks

Book Three of the
Blue-Collar Werewolf Series
Scheduled for Release by
New Concepts Publishing May 2007
**An Unedited Excerpt**

Chapter One

Bailey Sparks gripped the bars of her cage and stared up at the man
on the other side. She’d been pathetically easy to capture.
Her captor was out of place in the museum quality study. Then again,
the polished silver bars of her cage looked out of place, too. His
dark hair slicked back from a widow’s peak and close-trimmed beard
and mustache. His yellow eyes were cold and steady.
Thoughts of snakes and other cold-blooded things slithered through
her mind.
Bailey shivered. He wasn’t human.
“Now, little psychic.” He cocked his head in a smooth swivel. “What
brings a tasty morsel like you to my lair?”
A blurp in her ethics? A desire to be more than a psychic compass?
Fear of the supernatural?
She stalled, feeling incredibly small and stupid as he set the ruby
egg on its stand over the mantle and glided back to her cage.
What had made her think to do something so dumb as appropriating lost
treasures. She shied away from the word stealing. She wasn’t a
Well, not a very good one, anyway.
Thinking that she could use her Finding abilities for more than
locating lost car keys and people was turning out to be a big
mistake. She should have stuck to that nice boring office clerk job
back in Savannah.
But once she’d stumbled onto the local pack, moving out was her only
option. And fast. Getting involved with werewolves again was
definitely not on her list of things to do.
Lizard-man chuckled. The hissing sound sent more shudders skittering
up her spine. She really wished her gifts included something to
figure out what her captor was.
“Uh, look Mister. I usually don’t do stuff like this. You see…”
He laughed again.
“You are cute, little psychic. All that curly hair and freckles.”
His eyes gleamed yellow in the dim lamplight.
She heard him sniffing, sorting the scents in the air. Drat-it. It
gave her the willies it when they went all nonhuman like that.
The yellow eyes narrowed to slits.
“You smell like wolven, little psychic. Where is your pack? Who is
in my territory?”
The growl wasn’t like anything she’d heard before. His blocky white
teeth thinned to points. All of them, and not in the way the
werewolves Changed.
Fear spiked through her. What had she gotten herself into this
The idea of moving to Alaska was looking better and better. At least
she wouldn’t have to worry about vampires six months out of the
year. But then, she’d never been bothered by vampires, just
werewolves. Wolven. Uppity shapeshifters.
“I’m n-not part of a pack.”
Bailey shrank back and pressed into the bars on the opposite side.
Curse those werewolves and their super healing blood for getting her
into this mess. Mark especially. Tall, blond, and sexy, he was a
complete pain in the rear. And a hound dog, to boot.
Dismissing her mind’s eye view of what she’d passed up two years ago,
she tried to concentrate on the here and now. She didn’t need Mark’s
protection, she needed protection from him. Before he finally got to
Hinesville, Georgia to haul her back to Texas.
Her captor’s skin took on a different texture as he slithered around
the cage faster than thought. Bailey gasped when the man’s, the
creature’s, hand shot out and snagged the messy knot atop her head.
He pressed close. There was none of the heat she associated with the
wolven. He was cool. A vampire?
A fresh wave of terror spread through her.
“Not part of a pack?” He sneered. “Do not make me out a fool.
There was a day that an innocent thing like you would have been tasty
enough to appease my wrath.”
She’d just broken into his house and he thought she was innocent.
There was that tasty comment again.
“I’m not tasty. I didn’t even take a bath today?”
He did that horrible hissing laugh again.
The grip on her hair loosened and she pulled away to face him.
“Who are you? What are you?”
Devil-guy looked incredulous.
“You broke into my lair without knowing who I am? Did you not see
the figures on my gate? The fanciful topiary?”
It was a testament to the last two years worth of weight training and
aerobics that got her butt over the twelve foot wall. She’d bumbled
through the house, getting caught after she had the oramental gem egg
in hand.
“Decoration? It was pretty.”
His angled head shook side to side. Belief, then satisfaction,
finally settled onto his sharp features. Spreading one arm wide, he
dipped at the waist in a graceful bow. “Well then fair maiden,
introductions are in order. I am Dracen Pyr Smith. And you are in my
Bailey blinked as his words sank in. She really was a dolt.
“What kind of name is Smith for a dragon?”
* * * *
Mark Weis was in deep doo-doo. The knowledge that he’d defied Adam,
his Alpha, his dad, and left his territory for this sent a tremor
through him. Wolven were pack creatures and homebodies.
Disobedience went against his nature. He huffed out a sigh.
Leaving Miss Sunshine on her own for two years rankled his instincts,
too. The thing was, he just wasn’t ready to trade enjoying a
different woman any night he wanted for a mate and a litter of fat
pups. Besides, she’d left him.
He had tracked her scent to where she’d gone over the twelve foot
fence and found the rope and anchor. He shook his head, amazed.
She’d gone from fearing them to antagonizing rich and powerful
supernaturals. Though, he supposed that most of the well-to-dos out
here were normal humans with legit businesses.
Mack Spencer, Adam’s second in command, liked to say that wolven were
elitists. Like Bailey, Mack was human and a psychic. Mark had never
heard of another pack anywhere with humans in ranking positions.
This was the first time he’d travelled more than two hours from
home. Considering the hours he’d driven from his hot and dry East
Texas, this damp state of Georgia might have been on another planet.
Mark bent his legs and sprang upward, catching the lip of the fence
with his fingertips. He vaulted over, landing with all the
supernatural stealth that had been bred into him. The ridiculous
boring black sweatsuit would help him blend into his surroundings.
It’d also be fast to strip out of if he had to Change.
Bailey’s shock and desperation had long since faded from his tenuous
connection to her. Usually, he couldn’t pick up anything except the
occasional whisper of her strongest feelings. But he could track
Blood called to blood, and his psychic had plenty enough of his to
forge a link.
At home in the gray shadows of the night, Mark lifted his nose and
There she was. Bailey’s own special smell, mixed with the spicy odd
scent of a Psychic’s magic.
He followed the scent trail around to the back of the huge ass
The place had to be ten times bigger than his beloved Packhome. Age,
decayed and new wood, plaster told him more about the history of the
house that looking at it ever would.
What he could see of the fancy carved woodwork might make the house
pretty in the daylight. Packhome was a rambling rustic log home.
His packbrother Brandon would have a hey-day exploring a place like
this. When he wasn’t being weird or doing the family thing, Brandon
was into architect stuff and restoring old houses.
Mark froze as a small sound registered in his preternaturally sharp
hearing. Deciding it was a normal night sound, he continued on and
willed his heart rate to go back to a normal level. Only a crazy
idiot would chase a woman who didn’t want him across four states.
Him acting an idiot wasn’t anything new, but this time he had the
feeling that Bailey had bitten off more trouble than she could
swallow. For a change, Mark listened to his instincts. Really
listened. It was either that or his packbrothers would pound the
daylights out of him for being so irritable.
Convincing his mom’s friend, Jax to hack into Miss Sunshine’s email
took a little fast talking and a free tune up on the guy’s junker.
Who knew gnomes were so handy with both computers and history? Or
that they could be so touchy about yard gnome jokes?
Mark still couldn’t believe she bought that line that her employer
was a history professor at some fancy college up north. Or that the
ancient artifact called The Dragon’s Egg ever belonged to the jerk off
hiring Bailey to return it to him. ID could be forged, especially on
the Internet. Even the name, M.C. Gill, gave Mark the creeps.
He’d gone straight home, packed a bag, and headed out. No thinking
it over. Forget his pride. Forget her weird ideas about his kind.
He’d shared his blood with her. With that act he’d taken
responsibility for her life.
Mark Weis didn’t shirk responsibility.
He inhaled Bailey’s apple-sweet scent through the French doors left
ajar. His nose lead the way.
The dry smell of reptile and preternatural magic pervaded the
Mark suppressed the growl that tickled in his throat. Feline scent,
faint and fading, ruffled his hackles. Probably a pet long gone.
He was an old hand at getting into trouble. All the pranks he’d
played, breaking and entering was a first. All of this sneaking
around sucked. Subtlety had never been his game.
Neither he nor Miss Sunshine had any business playing cat-burglar.
If he managed to get out with all his body parts, he was going to
drag her back to Packhome and keep her there.
* * * *
Mr. Smith, the dragon, tilted his head in a smooth swivel. The
stillness while he listened was eerie.
What was happening? The words froze in Bailey’s mouth as Mr. Smith’s
body followed the movement of his head and slithered out of the
room. Okay, he walked. Unintelligible syllables whispered back to
her in the cage.
As soon as her captor left the room, Bailey reached for the cell
phone hidden in her inside jacket pocket. The empty pocket made her
slump against the bars.
Tears of frustration dampened her eyes. She wasn’t the weepy sort,
so they faded away just as fast, leaving the emotion behind without a
Gone. But then, who would she call for help anyway? Her Finder’s
business was internet based so that she could pick up and go at
anytime. This was supposed to be her first big job. Something to be
proud of.
Finding and returning something was one thing. Doing the actual
theft was another. She should have checked closer into her client’s
stolen artifact story. And his credentials.
Bailey jumped. She pressed as close as close to the bars as
possible, trying to see the commotion. The tinkling of breaking
glass turned her attention to the curtained expanse covering the
windows. A shadow darted from the window to the fireplace. And the
“Hey! Who are you?” Bailey rushed to the end of her cage. She
thought what she saw was human. It paused, its form warped somehow
by the dark or her dirty eyeglasses lens. “What are you?”
The fighting rumbled closer through the house. Trashing things.
Expensive things she’d seen as she’d followed her Finding to this
room. The blurred shadow twitched in several directions at once then
jumped back towards the window.
“Wait! Let me out!”
The curtains puffed and ebbed with the night air. Whoever, whatever
was long gone.
High keening punctuated by grunts, crashes and bangs came from the
next room. A large object flew through the shadowed doorway. Bailey
ducked into the furtherest corner.
It, he, crashed into the cage with a yelp.
A bright spot of blond hair, drew her eyes as he unfurled. He slid
down the bars then jerked away from the metal with another noise.
Yellow blond hair covered his eyes and cheekbones. His large hand
rubbed over a rising rash on his neck. The bottom part of his head
was shaved close. An overgrown teenager’s haircut. Or a man with
incredibly bad taste.
The hair on Bailey’s neck prickled. It couldn’t be.
He wouldn’t.
Bailey made a noise and he looked up, tossing his hair back as he
turned his head. Fine nostrils flared on straight, strong nose.
Bright blue eyes met hers and narrowed.
Oh, no.
He would.
She groaned. As if her day couldn’t get worse.

~~Happy Reading~~

Buffi BeCraft-Woodall Paranormal Romance


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